While we are busy hustling about during the holidays, it is important to remember to give back to those less fortunate. That is why we would like to take a moment to honor the angels among us.
Among these angels is an army of volunteers that served more than 1,000 meals this week to help “Unite Baltimore” after the turmoil the city saw last April. Local volunteers and organizations joined Mercy Chefs, a group based in Chesapeake, VA. to serve meals in Middle River, West Baltimore, and downtown.
The group provided 4,000 meals to police officers during the April riots. This week, they brought a 42-foot mobile kitchen to cook $5,000 worth of food to feed Baltimore’s own. But their efforts don’t end this week. Mercy Chefs plan to make the four plus hour drive to setup their mobile kitchen when the city declares future “Code Blue” weather emergencies. Estimates suggest there are more than 750,000 Marylanders who are deprived of food, and Baltimore is at the epicenter.
Volunteers included police officers who served meals to residents in Sandtown –Winchester, hoping to help counter possible negative experiences with local law enforcement. Local pastors and police chaplains also served meals and engaged in conversation with local gang members.
We are fortunate to have such gracious volunteers give their time and service, especially those who travel to our state to give back to our “Charmed” City. And, while the chief cause of food insecurity is poverty, the hungry are not just the homeless and the destitute. Nearly half of Maryland’s hungry are the working poor, those who hold jobs but might not earn enough to feed themselves and their families.
Food deficiency is not just about money, but insufficient access to fresh food or transportation to be able to get to a market. The mayor has offered tax breaks to help serve in the city’s food deserts, but candidly, the city’s nonprofits are asked to carry much of the load to feed the hungry. The Maryland Food Bank has over 500 distribution points in Baltimore, but donations are down this year.
So while we enjoy the holidays, instead of just thinking about those who are less fortunate, consider rolling up your sleeves and becoming an angel to someone in need. Happy Holidays, and our very best for a warm and blessed 2016.